A few days ago a friend and I were talking about one of the items she had in a holiday meal. One of her youngsters was watching one of her youngsters inhale Grandmother’s rolls and said, “Mom, you’ll have to teach me how to make that.”
As we chatted, we both acknowledged that many of our favorite recipes came not just from our mothers, but our grand – and great-grand – mothers. Handed down over generations and updated as needed based on what was available.
A while back, I wrote about creating a cookbook to collect and hand down family favorites. My friend remarked that that was a project she wanted to embark on this year.
While I love perusing cookery sites and magazines, not to mention cookbooks, I think the hand made route is perfect. You can put in not just the recipe, but recollections, pictures, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Why not include family photographs along with the instructions?
One other thing I think invaluable is the How To section. Every good recipe explains how to actually create the dish, but sometimes they lack that bit of … … … instruction that gives the maker the information that will result in success. (Not everyone is a master cook, and sometimes you need some directions to go with the <cough> directions.) 🙂
Years ago I was stunned to discover that Julia Child had created what amounts to a How To book for herself. It was a collection of quick recipes and notes she needed to make everyday things. Gathered in a binder it was handy on a shelf in her kitchen.
One of the country’s most revered cookery teachers had a cheat sheet in her kitchen. Makes perfect sense to me!
Each stove and each oven is a different animal, so it is a good idea to keep notes about the quirks. If you are one of us who needs a reminder about how long to boil an egg – why not just make a note and put it where you can find it, rather than dig out the phone, laptop, book or whatever and browse the Internet?
How many of us remember Grandma making something and not using measuring spoons? Grandma knew how to measure using the palm of her hand.
By the way, “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom” is available if you are interested. I perused it at my local library, but Amazon has it as well.
If you are thinking about creating your own recipe collection – either for yourself or to pass down – take some time to sketch out what you would like the final book to be.
Not just recipes, but How To’s and such.
Then, as the year progresses, make notes about what you have made and add it to the recipes for the book. Why not include some pictures?
I’d bet you could have quite a collection ready for next Holiday Season. And someone will be speechless to have received it.
There are several types of recipe software available – some at nominal cost. I prefer to use this type of tool rather than a word processor because the software has tools to make the creation easy, organized and simple. You can also get nutritional information, should you want to (and why not?)
If you decide to go the paper route, you can pick up blank books pretty much anywhere. Many of the ones I’ve seen come with divider and pre-printed pages.
Whichever way you choose, good luck, have fun and enjoy the process. There is a lot of great food out there!